Posts tagged freedom
From Feeling Stuck to Finding Freedom

Trigger warning: this story contains depictions of abuse. If you need help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233.

Let me tell you about a girl who believed a very big lie.

A girl with the world at her fingertips.

A girl with a bright smile that lit up the room.

A girl who loved Jesus.

A girl who got pregnant with her boyfriend.

Riddled with shame and embarrassment, the girl tried to “right the wrong” with an engagement. Against all advice, she charged into this marriage before her sweet child came into the world.

Then she began to notice patterns in her husband that he hadn’t exhibited AT ALL before they were married – Like his anger. Like his unrelenting sarcasm. Like his intimidation. Like his aggression. Like his lies. Like his manipulation. Like his threats. Like his fighting dirty. Like his total disrespect.

But she stayed.

 
domestic abuse
 

She stayed through the short fuse and the huge temper. She stayed through the deceit and theft. She stayed through sexual abuse and neglect. She stayed through his exploitation of power and control. She stayed through the f-bombs and name-calling. She stayed through the verbal beatings that she “never should have been born, is stupid, alone, and worthless.” She stayed through slammed doors and screaming rants, while rocking on the floor, plugging her ears in the fetal position.

And she stayed through the birth of their child.

She stayed through her fear of her husband and fear for her son. She stayed when the only advice she received was to turn the shower on so the baby couldn’t hear him screaming at her. The girl became desperate and hopeless, even turning to thoughts of suicide. (Which he made fun of and threatened to take her to a psych ward when she reached out for help.) She could not live this way.

Until, finally, she stopped believing this very big lie.

You see, this smart, brave, beautiful mother had believed the lie that there was no way out. She believed that she was stuck because of her sin. She chose to marry him to make things right and now she had to live with that decision, regardless of the abuse. She was so far entrenched in this lie of deserved punishment that she couldn’t see the light of day. She couldn’t hear the hopeful, loving whispers from her heavenly Father as she cried out to Him, begging Him to save her.

Until she could.

Until she believed the truth that redemption was possible. A new life of love, forgiveness, peace, SAFETY, and a God-breathed future in FREEDOM. She began to consider what her life could look like outside of captivity. She believed that God did not cause this abuse or use it to punish her.

This beautiful artwork is one of 10 gorgeous TRUTH statements you can find in the What’s True About You Guided Journal -COMING SOON!  Artist:  Ami Atkocaitis

This beautiful artwork is one of 10 gorgeous TRUTH statements you can find in the What’s True About You Guided Journal -COMING SOON!

Artist: Ami Atkocaitis

And what’s amazing about this girl is that as soon as she called the lie out for what it was, she stepped into her freedom with divine determination and supernatural tenacity.

A middle of the night rescue mission ended in the comforting arms of family. As she gained her footing, her future unfolded so magnificently. God gave generously at every guided step. Trauma became the pain of the past instead of the reality of the present. Through her hard work digging deep to find healing, she clung to Jesus and the truth that He is not the Punisher. He is the Counselor who caught every tear she cried in a bottle. The God of Love and Grace and Forgiveness. The God of Hope and Peace and Freedom.

Now, I wish I could report that the girl hasn’t experienced a single struggle since that day or that her prison break was easy. I wish I could say that she never looked back. I wish I could say that there isn’t more healing to do, but I can’t.

After all, life is hard and this journey is a long one.  

But I am happy to say this girl is now happily re-married to wonderful man, which is just part of her redemption story. The most significant, inspiring part of this story is how through the pain and hopelessness, she made it to the other side as a fiercely strong and confident daughter of the King.

In her quest for peace, she also found her passion. A passion to revolt against injustice, especially when it comes to women and children being mistreated. A heart for single mothers and overwhelming empathy for those who feel stuck in abusive relationships. 

And so for you, dear friend, you may need to be reminded of who you are. You are God’s masterpiece, dearly loved and freely-called to engage the world in ways that only you can.

You are worthy of love, peace, and freedom. You are worthy of believing that “God is for you, not against you. He is near to you, not far away from you, and He has created you on purpose, and for a purpose” (the truth that our Radio Theology team shares with our listeners every week.)

If your story too closely reflects this one, please know that you are not alone. Please do not believe the lie that you are being punished for poor choices and sentenced to a miserable life because of the mistakes you made. There is hope for you. Redemption can be the next chapter of your story.  

As much as I love connecting with you, exchanging emails and Facebook posts, and swapping stories – this is too big for me. Please call the highly trained professionals at the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233.

Whether abuse is part of your story or not, you are in your own fight to live freely in who you are. I’m with you. And the entire I Am Mother of the Year community is with you. With weekly blog posts, radio content, an encouraging group, and a What’s True About You Guided Journal due out in just a few short weeks that will walk you through pinpointing those deep-seated lies and replacing them with the truth, there are so many ways to engage with this movement!

We hope you do! We love you lots!

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What Happens When Daddy Steals Your Thunder?

Mama, has this ever happened to you? You're duking it out with one of the offspring, but then Daddy comes in and steals your thunder? I mean, the mama-thunder. The thunder that was going to WIN THIS BATTLE.....well, it happened to me. And you'll never BELIEVE what my husband said after I got mad at him for rescuing me.

“I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours.”

Aghhh. Gut punch. Cue the tears and self-loathing.

Let me take you back. I’ll spare you the most of the details of our ridiculous day, which included but was not limited to:

Me allowing Josie to wear my great grandmother’s wedding ring on her toe and then us thinking it was lost only to have had it been looped through Josie’s sandal the entire desperate and frantic time. (What was I thinking?!?!)

Josie not sleeping at all during her naptime and getting glitter from her dress allllllll over her bed and then in her eyes so that they were red and puffy by the time she emerged from her room, sleepless hours later.

Me letting our tiny dog outside in the 100 degree heat before heading upstairs for what I assumed was a quick paci-pop-in for a fussy Cal. Fast forward to AN HOUR LATER when Cal is still not settled no matter what I try and Case is panicking at the back door. I let him inside, he starts shaking, I start crying, he lets out a 15-second-long adult, human scream that I’m pretty sure rattles the wall décor, poops on the floor, and I assume he’s dying. (Thank you, Jesus, he was back to normal in almost no time!)

All of this happened in the hour and 15 minutes that Ryan ran to Menards to buy caulk.

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So by the time bedtime rolled around, I was sooooooooooooooo done. And the napless Josie was in rare form. Ryan went out to scrape paint off the side of the house while I attempted to put Josie to bed. She stalled, I boiled over. She screamed, I yelled back. It was the battle of the century. I was determined to WIN. THIS. THING. when all of a sudden, Ryan just waltzes in all calm, picks Josie up, and says to me, “I’ll take it from here.”

And instead of being grateful, I actually said the following words. Man, this is even hard to type, I’m so ashamed. I said, “Ohhhhh sure, just come right in and be her hero. I’m not leaving. I am ENDING THIS with her.”

Calmly, he excused me from the room again, so I came down to the kitchen to pout and ponder what a horrible mother I was that I couldn’t even get my girl to bed, and ponder what a horrible girl I had that she couldn’t even follow a set of simple instructions without losing her mind.

And I remembered how just a few days ago, I had experienced peace in my motherhood for a time. How glorious it was! And I began to get frustrated….why couldn’t I just KEEP THAT PEACE? Why does the tiny human bring out the worst in me?

It was then that Ryan came down the stairs after 3 successful minutes, wrapped me in a hug, and said, “I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours. I heard her screaming from outside and thought to myself, ‘Oh, I bet Lisa might need some help.’”

_I wasn't trying to be HER hero, I was trying to be YOURS._ (1).png

Well, I’m the worst. Ha! Lordy, I mean, what a horrible moment, but so redeeming at the same time. I started telling myself the truth in that hug. I am a good mom. Josie’s a good girl. We both have some work to do – ESPECIALLY when it comes to bedtime. We will figure all of this out if we keep putting in the work and she will be a world-changer.

As with most days like this, it makes for really good radio content, and the next day our team got together to plan our show and I presented the hot mess that was my day. Of course the guys didn’t really know where to start with me because WHAT IS MY LIFE?! But Daron, pastor and a decade ahead of me in parenthood, asked why I got so angry when Josie wouldn’t go to bed.

Because I’m afraid. I’m scared that she will never listen, will always stall, will turn out to be a horrible human. Yes, I can tell all of this in my worst flash forwards during bedtime. But mostly, I’m protective and selfish of MY TIME. I get to be just me after 7 p.m. And at 7:10 I’m seeing red because now Josie’s taking something away from me.

So here’s what we figured out and will share on the air this weekend. It just might come down to anger vs. compassion. Now, this is just a working theory, so hear me out and also weigh in! But when we lead with anger, it’s generally stemming from a place of selfishness. In the case of the bedtime struggle, it’s me thinking about how Josie is wasting MY TIME and how she will reflect negatively on ME as a parent.

If I approached bedtime with compassion – something I still have yet to try (oops!) – I could lead calmly and firmly, knowing that what’s best for Josie is quiet time and lots of rest. And what’s best for her is to respond well to authority and to direction. Compassion wouldn’t mean excusing her behavior, but it could mean being more of a guide than a crazy dictator, which is probably the nicest way I could describe myself when I lose my cool with her.

So, what now? How do we stay compassionate with our kids? Especially in the heat of the moment…

I don’t exactly know, but let’s try this:

  • Create and maintain a healthy life: This is what self-care actually is. If you’re all wound up about the goings-on in your life, then you’ll be a wound up parent, too. Invest in yourself. Create space for what brings you joy and peace.

  • Keep at it: Ugh, mothering is so tiring! It’s such hard work, but it is worth it. Keeping putting in the hard work and you will someday see the fruits of your labor. Keep your sails up! (We will, right?! That’s what they say so I’m banking on that being true!)

  • Tell yourself the truth: We talk a lot about truth and lies and what we believe about ourselves. Keep practicing replacing those lies with the truth.

What do you think? Hit me with your bedtime tricks, your stay-calm tricks, your whatever’s-working-now tricks. Share your wisdom, your struggles and your truth and lies. And pretty please, always remember, you are Mother of the Year!